Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The Trouble With Tribbles
The sun is climbing slowly and it has warmed up a little from the frosty breath cold of this morning's start, but still, it's a darn chilly day and now this wind is whipping like crazy. It is blasting at me in fierce cold gusts and pushing my bike and me all over the road on my way down this hill. Honestly, I was expecting to be gliding down easily around 35 to 40 mph or more based on the average 7% grade and not having to pedal at all, but rather, having the luxury of soft pedaling to keep my knees warmed up and loose. But no, it is not to be, so unfortunately I start pedaling on the 11 tooth cog and it is all I can do to hit a reasonable cadence in this wind and still my speed feels slow.
I love to descend. Even more, I love to descend fast. Way down deep inside of my quiet expectations for this Tri-States Gran Fondo, I was hoping to hit 50 or 55 mph on the downhills that I expected to encounter along the 112 miles and 7500 feet of descent that went along with the pain and suffering I felt I was going to endure with the 7500 feet of climbing. I glance down quickly again and instead suffer the fizzling disappointment of seeing 30ish mph on the computer.
I know I'm getting to the bottom of Utah Hill as the cold wind continues shoving and bullying me around the road so I start to keep an eye out for that u-turn left that we've all been warned not to miss. A little further down the hill, I decide to straighten up, getting back on the hoods. In spite of my best efforts, the knees have cooled down a bit and gotten a little stiff too along with the neck from straining to crane up and see down the road.
I glance up the hill I just descended when I get around the u-turn left and balance what I see with the speed I was able to accomplish on the way down and measure that against the wind I felt pushing and shoving me all over the road and I wonder just how hard will climb number three out of three proper climbs on this Tri-States Gran Fondo really be once I push my way through the wind back here to mile 78 and begin this climb. I scroll through my computer - top speed of 37ish mph - not too fast going down a hill.
Of course the wind was a factor and I felt like it was fighting me the whole way down and I wonder how much of how slow was due to the wind and how much of how slow was due to the hill's not going to be much of an ascent when it turns into climb number three at mile 78. Still an average 7 percent grade for roughly 7.5 miles is a climb and I know how I am on most climbs and there's still climb number two about 18 miles up the road and the wind and the cold to push my way back through the whole way in, but you know what? I am feeling good right now. I am feeling strong.
Posted by Steve Wilson